Celebrate the change in season and save money by shopping for the best seasonal choices

Celebrate the change in season and save money by shopping for the best seasonal choices
Photo credit: Supplied

With trees in blossom, reported blue-sky sightings and some baby animals gracing farmland around the country, we're all tentatively voicing the refrain that spring seems to have actually, finally sprung here in Aotearoa. This not only means we can, at last, get the sheets on the washing line – it also translates to more variety and savings during the weekly supermarket shop. 

But if it feels like years since spring last rolled around (we hear you), you might not know which fruit and veggies are in season – meaning what's freshest, tastiest and the best value for you and your family. Newshub chatted to Foodstuffs  North Island Head of Produce and Butchery Brigit Corson to find out what the change in season means for our trollies and more importantly, our wallets. 

Firstly, if you've heard the refrain "shop seasonally" bandied about but you're not entirely sure what it means, you're not alone. 

"Shopping in season means eating freshly harvested produce. New Zealand is a highly seasonal market and when produce is in season there are larger volumes and this will normally mean lower prices," says Corson. 

"So eating in season means getting some fresh new tastes that you may not have had for a few months and a good deal as well." 

Corson explains that this spring will be marked by the El Niño weather pattern, meaning drier weather and more consistent conditions for growers – and improved supplies for shoppers. 

This means fresh vegetables and salads are back on the menu, great news for those who've been relying on snap-frozen veggies to get through the winter months. 

"Broccoli and Cauli have been in readily available. Leafy greens will be back in consistent supply. Producing strong supply means lower prices so these are your go-to products," says Corson.

Celebrate the change in season and save money by shopping for the best seasonal choices
Photo credit: Supplied

Tomatoes are also back on the menu. The short days and low light levels of winter caused less than stellar yields of covered crops.  But tomato-loving shoppers can expect to see prices drop – in fact, that's the case for all your salad favourites. 

"As light levels improve so will supply. This means cucumbers, capsicums and tomatoes will be better value as we progress towards summer," says Corson. 

"As it gets a bit lighter at night, salads are a quick and easy go-to. The export avocado season is in full swing so these will remain in good supply."

And asparagus is just starting to make an appearance – perfect timing for those keen on "a fresh asparagus roll while watching the Rugby World Cup." 

For many of us, the warmer months mean the promise of fresh berries, a Kiwi summer pudding staple. Corson says New Zealand strawberries are just around the corner, with the season expected to start in September. She does warn that this year thanks to cyclone damage, the supply might be a little tighter than previous years. 

"But keep your eyes peeled for the Blue Royal blueberries – the big ones – which are in early season supply. These are a standout – and the new varieties of raspberries and blackberries are lovely treats," she says. 

"For those who can’t wait for the New Zealand strawberry season there are a few Aussie strawberries still in store and great value while we wait for New Zealand to start." 

Celebrate the change in season and save money by shopping for the best seasonal choices
Photo credit: Supplied

And don't worry about bidding goodbye to the Sunday roast just yet. Corson says shoppers  can expect a few supply bumps of new season onions, carrots and potatoes thanks to a wet winter. 

"Once a year crops such as kūmara will not be back until February, so hang in there on these products," she says. 

Like many of us, Corson is looking forward to celebrating the fresh supply of delicious locally grown produce in her local New World with some extra-special recipes. 

"The quality of leafy greens in spring is always a standout paired with my favourite butterfly leg of lamb on the BBQ," she says. 

"I will also be remembering my dad who passed away this year by throwing together my version of his awesome asparagus salad. 

"I think that’s what I love about these seasonal changes, the food we eat brings back great memories and the promise of summer to come." 

If you're looking for a little spring menu inspiration, head to New World website, where you'll find four weeks of spring-focused meal plans. They're all delicious, nutritious, budget friendly and designed to achieve zero food waste so you can spend less time worrying about what to cook this week – and more time soaking up the longer, warmer evenings with friends and whānau. 

Article created in partnership with New World.